Lesson Plans Approved

December 16, 1990

Books depicting alcoholic parents and lessons teaching elementary pupils assertiveness will be part of the substance abuse prevention program, the Board of Education decided.

On a 3-2 vote, the board approved two curriculum guides that were pulled from consideration last month after board member Cheryl A. McFalls raised concerns about the appropriateness of the materials.

McFalls said she objected to the use of two books, "I Wish Daddy Didn't Drink So Much" and "Sometimes My Mom Drinks Too Much," because they didn't portray parents as positive role models.

She also objected to a "fantasy" exercise in the substance abuse prevention program and to the "humanistic" approach of a student enrichment lesson.

The fantasy exercise, she said, encouraged children to "assertively stand up to their parents and tell them no."

School officials, however, lauded both curriculum guides. They noted that the books help children understand that they are not to blame for the behavior of an alcoholic parent and that the problem has nothing to do with them.

The fantasy exercise, they said, was intended to help children communicate with their parents in a positive way.

The enrichment program was humanistic in behavior and not in philosophy or religion, school officials said. Aimed at third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, the lesson helps students feel good about themselves in the classroom.

Board member Robert L. Fletcher also voted against the curriculum guides. He said that although his objections were not strong, he felt the materials were inappropriate for elementary school children.

In another matter, the board approved a policy that would ban toy or look-alike weapons in schools.

Although the policy is similar to the board's ban on real weapons, Superintendent R. Edward Shilling noted school principals would have a prerogative in determining whether a toy or look-alike weapon was used maliciously and warranted the same punishment for a student.

Students who violate the ban are subject to suspension or expulsion.

The new policy was initiated as a further protection for staff and students, school officials said.

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